'State of emergency': HRC president highlights 'moral crisis' facing 'us all' during Equality Act hearing

'State of emergency': HRC president highlights 'moral crisis' facing 'us all' during Equality Act hearing

After four U.S. Representative Mark Takano (D-CA), and U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Equality Act earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on LGBTQ+ civil rights Wednesday.

The Equality Act, according to ABC News, "would expand federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in areas such as public facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system."

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, stressing the importance of the legislation.

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Human Rights Campaign wrote in a statement, "Today, as leaders in the U.S. House and Senate plan to reintroduce the Equality Act — historic federal legislation that would ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people everywhere — Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson called for its swift and urgent passage, telling members of a Senate panel that 'LGBTQ+ people of the United States of America are living in a state of emergency.'"

During her testimony, Robinson said, "I think those real life examples of Pulse and Club Q show that this violent, political rhetoric, plus easy access to firearms equals real-life harm, violence, death to my community. And while we're here talking about the issues that are truly affecting children, their health and their safety, the number one thing we should be talking about is gun violence. That is the number one killer of America's youth, but instead we are putting a target on the backs of trans kids. And when it comes to where this is coming from, we don't have to guess, I mean the American Principles Project, their executive director said, that they are targeting trans kids to 'score political points.' And every time we see these waves of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation move through states, over 500 bills just this year, we see it accompanied by campaigns of hate and bias online."

The organization leader continued, "In Florida, when the 'Don't Say Gay' or trans bill was moving through, you saw 400 percent increase in language of groomers online targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Let's be clear that this is instilling fear in people. This is perpetuating transphobia and homophobia that has real life impact on harm on the lives of my community. There's a speaker at CPAC that called for the quote on quote eradication of transgender. That sort of violent language takes away the humanity of people that look like me, people that have experienced the world like me; LGBTQ+ people across this country. It makes us seem less human. When you couple that with trying to censor education, remove our stories from schools, trying to criminalize or vilify loving parents for affirming their gender identity, this is creating a culture of fear and harm that's directly targeted some of our most vulnerable — the LGBTQ+ community and trans youth."

Robinson concluded, "We should all see what's happening for the moral crisis that it is and know that because the attack is coming to trans youth today doesn't mean that that target can't be placed on someone else's back next week. This is a threat not only for the trans community but for us all."

READ MORE: 'Not being hyperbolic': Montana Democrat says GOP-backed anti-trans bills have led to suicide

The LGBTQ+ rights advocate's remarks come after a Burlington, Massachusetts middle school student group's approved LGBTQ+ pride celebration was interrupted by other students' "tearing down pro-LGBTQ posters, wearing red, white and blue clothing and painting their faces, while some chanted, 'my pronouns are USA.'"

A letter, in response to the incident, to parents from Marshall Simonds Middle School Principal Cari Perchase said, "How many children felt power yesterday by committing an act of intimidation? How many children had a seed of homophobia planted in them yesterday? How many children now feel worse about themselves because of what they witnessed or experienced yesterday? How many children now think that being part of or supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community is unAmerican?"

Watch the videos below or at this link.

READ MORE: School’s LGBTQ pride celebration destroyed by students chanting their pronouns are 'USA'

ABC News' full report is available at this link.

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